Expert Panel: [ARCHIVED] Tuberculosis Among Migrants

When: Jan. 16, 2017 - Jan. 20, 2017 | Community: MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention  

This Expert Panel is Archived.

This Expert Panel is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.

How can we advocate for controlling TB among migrants without stigmatizing them?

Posted: 20 Jan, 2017   Recommendation: 1   Replies: 2

As we enter the last day of our panel discussion, I would like to thank the all the panelists and community members for their contributions to this point.

We have covered a range of topics: how to measure TB among migrants, how to mitigate the risks of TB in these populations, what international instruments, legal and policy approaches can be helpful in establishing a continuum of TB care for migrants, how health systems can be adapted to make them more effective at providing care for migrants with TB.

Many good ideas and examples have emerged from this online conversation. We should now consider how to implement these ideas, recognizing that the decision of a country, state, or locality about how to manage TB among migrants is inherently political. It then follows that the decision to adopt policies to address TB in migrants will require political will.

We also should recognize that xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments are growing in many migrant destinations like the United States, Europe and Australia. In this context, raising awareness about the need for comprehensive, humane policies for the management of TB in migrants carries a risk of stigmatizing these groups, which could be counter-productive.

Clearly, some part of the responsibility to develop TB control policies for migrants will fall to us, the people engaged in this panel discussion. So, community members and experts, how should we advocate for migrant communities and better TB care while avoiding stigmatizing these groups in the process?
I've link below to an article from the Chicago Tribune and another from a US media watchdog group that highlights the problem of TB stigma among migrants. I also provide a link to an interesting piece about how xenophobia may be part of something called the "behavioral immune system", which should probably be considered as we think about avoiding stigmatizing migrants.

Attached resources:



Tamirirashe Mahwire Replied at 1:27 AM, 20 Jan 2017

Thank you for the interesting discussion. I am an economic migrant who has moved from a High TB burden country to countries experiencing worse TB epidemics. My knowledge from home country has been very invaluable in managing TB cases occurring in locals.While migrants to the first world will definitely have a larger Burden of TB. The knowledge health worker migrants possess may be invaluable in the countries they migrate too and should be tapped into. I was impressed by the colleagues who employ migrants to assist with DOTS and following up of TB cases in migrants. I was happy with cautious approach advocated by a previous speaker because i have attended assaulted , burnt alive for being migrants to Xenophobia victims accused of stealing jobs. The last thing we need is them being accused of bringing diseases. Most sub-Saharan countries have a chest X-ray screening for TB when u apply for resident VISA . This unfortunately is not able to diagnose latent TB.

Dylan Tierney Replied at 11:12 AM, 20 Jan 2017

Not only are we living in a time of xenophobia and nativism, we must also contend with a devaluation of expertise and a delegitimization of evidence.

I worry that, in this environment, trying to counter the “migrant as threat” narratives with well-sourced data about how TB in migrants can be successfully managed will be a failing strategy. Those who harbor anti-immigrant sentiments will brush these arguments aside, stating that any risk of TB transmission from immigrants is too high, that it would be easier to block immigrants than to deal with the issue of TB transmission.

I think we will need a different approach, possibly one based on an ethical, human rights-based argument for the treatment of migrants, especially those under duress of forced migration. The provision of healthcare, and high-quality TB management, to migrants would be well supported through such an argument. See the link below for a series of articles centered around human rights-based arguments for immigration.

What do community members and panelist think about the potential for data-driven advocacy? Are ethical arguments a way forward? Is there another path?

Attached resource:

This Expert Panel is Archived.

This Expert Panel is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.